How to Diagnose a Thyroid Condition

Grunberger Diabetes Institute Endocrine Management, Health, Wellness How to Diagnose a Thyroid Condition
January is Thyroid Awareness Month, so it is only fitting we release an article with details on how to know when to get checked for a Thyroid condition. With a prevalence of more than 12% of U.S. population developing some form of thyroid disease in their lifetime, that makes it an estimated 20 million Americans being affected.  What is amazing is that up to 60% of them are unaware of their existing condition. One in eight women are affected in the US, making them 5-6 times more likely to be afflicted than men with thyroid issues. If thyroid disease is left undiagnosed, patients are at risk of other medical conditions involving the heart, bones, growth, metabolism, brain, fertility and pregnancy. 

Depending when the other medical condition is found, it can present as mild or severe. The most common thyroid condition is hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) and thyroid nodules (masses) are less common but can be seriously symptomatic if not detected early. Thyroid cancers are the least common but with any malignancy, needs to be detected and treated appropriately for a long heathy life. 

Screening for thyroid disorders at the appropriate time with appropriate tests should be openly discussed between patients and physicians. Reviewing the patient’s risks such as family history of benign or malignant thyroid disease, personal history of other autoimmune diseases, existing medications or supplements and clinical signs such as enlargement or swelling of anterior neck area are all included in a thorough thyroid risk evaluation.   

Certain symptoms will suggest certain thyroid conditions which will lead to specific testing to make the accurate diagnosis and treatment.  Without the discussion to screening, evaluating and possible treatment of unknown thyroid disease, more serious medical conditions such as a heart attack or bone fracture, may be the first introduction to an easily treated thyroid condition.

Having an existing thyroid condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, or postpartum thyroiditis also requires open discussion between the patient and physician to further understand terminology used.

Standard medical care is based on scientific data that is effective and safe, therefore is always the first approach in management of thyroid disease. Due to the surge in alternative approaches, they can be discussed with appropriate patients.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) are credible sources of evidence-based information. 
We at GDI support and follow the excellence in education of multiple medical associations to both medical professionals and to patients. Make an appointment with one of our endocrinologists today to start the discussion.  

Below are web links to American Thyroid Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinology and Endocrine Society who have additional reputable literature on thyroid disorders. 

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